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Power to be privatised in UT: Badnore

CHANDIGARH: Chandigarh is going to be the green capital of India. This is what UT Administrator VP Singh Badnore has envisioned for the City Beautiful.

Power to be privatised in UT: Badnore

VP Singh Badnore, Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator

Nitin Jain

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9

Chandigarh is going to be the green capital of India. This is what UT Administrator VP Singh Badnore has envisioned for the City Beautiful.

In an exclusive tete-e-tete with The Tribune at the Punjab Raj Bhawan here this evening, Badnore, who is also the Governor of Punjab, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a dream to plug the weak link between the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity and create competition in the discoms.

“We will be the first one in the country to realise the dream of the Prime Minister by bringing in multiple private discoms to distribute electricity in the city,” said the UT’s top boss.

In this way, the consumers will have the freedom to choose their own service provider from among the multiple service providers and switch over to any other, if they are not satisfied with anybody’s service.

“At present, discoms are to be blamed for the poor electricity system in our country. We have private players in the power distribution sector, who have been trying for long to get licences,” Badnore said.

He said in London and other European countries, it was like mobile phone services in India where you could choose your own service provider and even change as per your wish. “This ushers in competition. If this is done on the electricity front, it will be a win-win situation for both consumers and the service providers, where the consumer will be the king and the service providers will vie to be the best to attract maximum consumers,” said the UT Administrator.

At present, we have the generation and transmission intact, but the distribution system is not up to the mark.

“We will introduce the licensing system wherein the private discoms can get licences to distribute electricity and we will give multiple licences. Maybe three, four, five or even six. In London, they have 10 licensees. If you are unhappy with one licensee, you can move to another. If it can be done anywhere in India, it is Chandigarh,” asserted Rajasthan’s veteran politician-turned-UT Administrator.

Badnore said he had already begun the work on this front. “I want to privatise the electricity supply system with private discoms and multiple licensees. Let Chandigarh be illuminated by private suppliers. Let Chandigarh be the green capital of India,” he wished. Under the plan, the UT Administration will upgrade the electricity system before inviting private discoms to take over the distribution. “If the system is not upgraded and made up to the mark, there will be issues. Investment has to come for the upgrade. I am working on it as well. It will not take long. We are consulting the Union Ministry concerned and are going to get the requisite permission soon,” the Punjab Governor disclosed.

Badnore wants to take Chandigarh to the next level. “The Smart City project is already there but I want the city to be the best in the country,” he said.

On the public welfare front, the UT Administrator said, “I also want to restart public darbars to meet the common man and hear and redress grievances on priority. I have been a people’s man in the past as an MLA and MP and would love to remain the same but within the protocol of my office”.

“I am concentrating more on the UT Administration. I will go the extra mile after keeping the Governor’s office aside to work as the Administrator of Chandigarh,” said Badnore.

“Chandigarh is already at a higher level than other cities, but you can still take it further. Our focus is now on the 13-odd villages falling under the UT, the level of which we want to raise on a par with Chandigarh,” he said.

Badnore said there were a lot of issues and he wanted to take up all these one by one and sort these out. “We have already been able to solve certain issues like penalty on non-construction on vacant plots, which had been there for long and the rate of penalty was very high, which nobody could afford. I have already recommended waiving the penalty. Similarly, I am examining other public issues and would like to sort these out one after another,” he said.

The UT Administrator also wants to develop the city’s lone shooting range as an international shooting range. 

Soliciting public and media’s support for solving the public issues and bringing more accountability, transparency and responsiveness in the UT Administration, the city’s top boss also plans to sort out the increasing traffic congestion on Chandigarh roads.

“Peak-hour traffic is another big issue. We would like public ideas to sort out the problem. We may propose one-way traffic restrictions for two-hour peak time in the morning and evening to smoothen the flow of vehicular traffic. Synchronisation of traffic lights will also be considered,” he hinted.

On the recent SC liquor ban issue, though Badnore was not forthcoming, he said the UT had already found a way out for sustaining its liquor and hotel industry. “Our idea has already been followed by several other states such as Rajasthan and Punjab. On the one hand, we want to create more jobs while on the other, we are trying to render those already working jobless. How can it help? The illegal liquor trade and drug mafia will flourish due to it,” he said.

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